The Midwinter Owl Prowl



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Tonight, for our monthly Snoozecast+ Deluxe bonus episode, we’ll read an original story that is about the dark side of birdwatching. And by dark, we simply mean that it is done in the cold and silence of a winter night.

For the residents of Russell Mills, it’s the night of the first annual “Midnight Owl Prowl”. Expert and amateur birders alike convene at midnight at Parsons Field, guided by a RMNRT volunteer, with hopes to spot the elusive Snowy Owl.

Mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey, owls are typified by their upright stance, large, broad heads, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight.

Another notable feature of owls is their facial discs. These are the concave collection of feathers on owl’s faces surrounding their eyes. These facial discs collect sound waves and directs those waves towards the owl's ears. Owls can actually adjust their disc feathers to enable them to focus and locate prey by sound alone under snow, grass, and plant cover. In many species, these discs are placed asymmetrically, for better directional location.